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New system rife with snags, officials say Associated Press OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The director of the Oklahoma Supreme Courts Management Information Services knows there are kinks in the new court information system that is supposed to allow people Internet access to track cases, arrest warrants and financial information in all 77 counties. Hes working to make the system better.
It is a work in progress, said Kevin King, the MIS director. There is a lot more to do. Its an enormous system. There are still pieces of data that isnt completely converted. ... If theyll give me a chance Ill get them what theyre asking.
The Oklahoma Court Information System is supposed to be the first fully integrated court computer system in the country. Equipment and software has been installed in 33 counties, and eight of the states largest counties are operating on the network.
There have been enough snags that in early February, presiding judges across the state asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to stop adding counties to the system until problems in the eight largest counties have been solved.
There are complaints that daily case schedules wouldnt print with the needed information, financial data wouldnt calculate, deferred sentences came up dismissed, and judges couldnt tell what cases they were assigned or if cases were completed.
As I look at it, they promised us a Cadillac and what they delivered us is a crate full of parts with no instruction manual, said Oklahoma County District Judge Bryan Dixon, the presiding judge for the countys 33 judges.
King said he blames much of Oklahoma Countys problems on the lack of training. He has three trainers for the entire state, although he said the system is simple and shouldnt require much training.
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Watt, who oversees technological changes in the court system, said he has only one technician for every 128 computers _ one-third the number of technicians that would be standard in the private sector, he said.
Were overworked and understaffed. Were doing as much as we can. ...
Court clerks in smaller counties seem to have fewer complaints now. Some have caught up on the backlog of information that piled up during conversion to the new system.
But the difference between those counties and the eight larger counties is volume, said District Judge George Lindley of Duncan, the presiding judge over the Southwestern Administrative District.
If you are having a problem in getting dockets out, it is going to be a problem in Rogers County. But it is going to be a nightmare in Oklahoma City, he said.
I feel like I ought to go up and carry aid to the wounded, Lindley said. They are about to go out of their minds. It has got to be a living hell. Every day I say thanks to God I am not in the city.
The system was designed to keep track of court financial records, as well as cases. At one point, Lindley said, about $5 million could not be transferred to the Supreme Courts revolving fund, which pays the salaries of judges, bailiffs and court reporters statewide.
Although the Supreme Court never missed a monthly payroll, I can tell you, people were sweating it wondering when the money was going to get there, Lindley said.
-- - (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 06, 2000